While China was once known for exporting manufactured goods around, the country previously specialising as the world’s factory floor now seems to be capturing more attention for the sending its billionaires and their kin out of the country.
New proof of this new export boom was felt in Sydney, Australia recently when the 27-year-old heir to a Shanghai property fortune bought a mansion formerly leased by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for a reported A$52 million ($37.5 million).
The proud new owner of the 1920s-era mansion, “Jim” Shangjin Lin is a 2013 graduate of Australia’s Macquarie University, and the head of the local branch of Chinese developer Shanghai Shenglong Investment Group, which is owned by his father, Lin Yi.
Sydney Mansion the Latest Aussie Trophy Home for Chinese Buyers
If the final purchase price is confirmed as correct, Lin’s acquisition of Villa Igiea, which is located in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse and features views of the Sydney harbour bridge, will have acquired the second most expensive home in Sydney, according to reports in the Australian press.
The price paid for the five bedroom, four bathroom home, which is estimated at 1,126 square metres, still falls short of the A$70 million ($50.5 million) that another mainland property tycoon paid in August to acquire the former home of Australian billionaire James Packer. That 3,345 square metre estate, now belonging to Guangzhou developer Chau Chak Wing, sits just up the road from Lin’s new mansion.
Lin will have to wait at least a few months to actually move into his new home, however, as the hillside spot is booked well in advance as a rental spot. Jolie, Pitt and their children made Villa Igiea their home in 2013 when she was filming Unbroken. Katy Perry, Beyonce and Jay Z are also said to have leased the estate.
The high-end home acquisition is part of a wave of record-setting home deals for Chinese buyers in Australia that has spurred controversy as locals complain of being priced out of the market. In 2014 another Chinese investor bought a historic Melbourne home for $13.4 million, only to knock it down a year later, and Xu Jiayin, the head of mainland developer Evergrande Real Estate made the news early last year when he was forced to sell off a $30.5 million mansion that he was found to have bought through an illegal shell company.
Lin Family Learn to Love Australian Property
For Shangjin Lin and his family, this latest home purchase is just one of many acquisitions in Australia.
Shanghai Shenglong has established an Australian subsidiary, Aqualand, which stunned the Sydney market last May when it snatched up a historic commercial building and a residential site on Darling Island along Sydney harbour for $129 million.
The company now has at least six development projects in Australia, concentrated in Sydney and Perth, and has spent an estimated $432 million on acquisitions there. Shenglong’s US subsidiary has acquired projects in southern California, and the developer says it is ready for more deals both in America and down under.
In China, Shenglong has projects in Shanghai, Nanjing, Tianjin, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou and Luoyang, and is based in Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district. According to its website, as of 2013 the property developer had projects totalling more than 30 million square meters and had invested nearly $25 billion.